Martha's Vineyard merchant says there's a ‘process’ for coming to America, 'follow that'

·2 min read

OAK BLUFFS, Mass. – At least one person on this oasis of leftist elites blames federal officials for the illegal immigration crisis that thrust Martha’s Vineyard into the national spotlight.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent 50 migrants by plane Wednesday to the Massachusetts island, which boasts one of the wealthiest and most hard-left voting blocs in the nation.

"I think it was a political stunt," Paul Sinclair of Rhode Island told Fox News Digital on Saturday, as he sold T-shirts and surf gear during a street festival on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, one of the commercial hubs of Martha’s Vineyard.

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"But like any problem if you want to fix a problem make it visible. And I think (the problem) was made visible."

The phrase "political stunt" has been used on the island and elsewhere in leftist political circles to criticize DeSantis.

Sinclair saw the "stunt" as a way to make voters in the northeast pay attention to the burden faced daily by small border communities in the American southwest.

"In terms of coming (to America), I have no issue with that," said Sinclair. "But there is a process. There is a path you should follow. Follow that. Document it, the process and procedure for coming over."

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Martha’s Vineyard is located just south of Cape Cod, about 2,200 miles northeast of the closest border crossing with Mexico.

The island, comprised of six different wealthy coastal towns, is about as far removed from the border physically and politically from any location in the lower 48 states.

The migrants, mostly from Venezuela, were taken to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in exclusive Edgartown, where church members rallied to find shelter and food for the unexpected newcomers for two nights.

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Voters in Martha's Vineyard's six communities chose Biden and his policies nearly 4 to 1 over Trump in the 2020 election.

Students from the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School AP Spanish class help deliver food to St Andrew's Episcopal Church, Sept. 15, 2022. <span class="copyright">Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Image</span>
Students from the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School AP Spanish class help deliver food to St Andrew's Episcopal Church, Sept. 15, 2022. Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Image

But when migrants arrived on their island last week they were quickly shipped by bus and ferry to a military base on Cape Cod, on the Massachusetts mainland, about 44 hours after arriving.

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker called up National Guard forces to help relocate the migrants to the mainland, while islanders cited a lack of resources on the island.

Many lamented the "housing crisis" on Martha's Vineyard, even though more than half the homes on the island are secondary or vacation homes and most of their owners have left for the season.

"The (islanders) could have done a little more," said Sinclair, who later revealed he was originally from Texas.